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When you scramble for answers / all you’ll find is wings / and pristine specimens…

So begins “Hylesia Mymex,” the standout fifth track from one-man black metal project Glass Shrine’s debut full-length Lapidary. Striking in its imagery, the lyric perfectly illustrates what D.L., the artist behind Glass Shrine, means when he says that he seeks “to capture the beauty in ferocity with my music, to bring out something ornate and regal from a style of music known for its venom. The project and song names, lyrics and artwork are all deliberately and delicately crafted around this goal.” Every facet of the album evinces the care that went into its crafting: the tremolo-and-blast driven intensity stands in stark contrast to the pastel-hued cover and song titles that reference precious gems and species of butterflies, and the highly poetic lyrics infuse the musical savagery with more than a touch of the sublime.

To that end, Lapidary is aptly named; most frequently used to refer to an artisan skilled in the craft of cutting, grinding, and polishing gemstones, the word can also describe something elegant and precise. At nine songs and a relatively brisk 36 minutes, the album is as multi-faceted as it is concise, melding more classical black metal tropes with a surprising approach to melody. Time and again, chord progressions will ascend in places where one would expect them to descend, or drop a sudden semi-tone into a single-note run. Such moves work to keep the listener off-balance, but the deftness of the songwriting ensures that nothing ever feels out of place.

-Clayton Michaels

Night Rhythms will release Lapidary digitally and on cassette on November 17, 2016. Check out our full stream below.

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